A brief history of the global tower market
TowerXchange summarises the current state, and origins of, the independent tower market worldwide
This article introduces the various tower company business models, sizes the market, and contrasts the differences in the tower industry from continent to continent. We conclude with a look at the future evolution of tower companies, distinguishing between vertical real estate ‘purists’ and diversified communications infrastructure providers.
Once upon a time, telecom towers were depreciating assets, built to serve the needs of one mobile network operator (MNO), occasionally (often reluctantly) shared on a site for site ‘swap’ basis. Even today, the management of 1,460,581 operator-captive towers is not a core, value-creating business for those MNOs.
Two thirds of the world’s 4,412,963 towers (a total of 2,952,382) have now been transferred from MNOs to tower companies (towercos), or built by those towercos.